Last year, ShoreRivers (formerly Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy), partnered with over 20 organizations throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed to provide awareness about lawn fertilizer use. Through these efforts, the organization was able to reach almost 20,000 individuals via social media. A Tool Kit is available at shorerivers.org. For more information, visit the ShoreRivers Facebook page or contact Rebecca Murphy at email@example.com or 443.385.0511.
Lawn fertilizer accounts for approximately 44 percent of the fertilizer sold in Maryland. There are over 1,300,000 acres of lawns in Maryland; almost 86 million pounds of nitrogen lawn fertilizer will be applied to those lawns each year. More information on Maryland’s lawn fertilizer law is available at mda.maryland.gov/Pages/fertilizer.aspx. Additional guidance, along with seasonal and yearly fertilizer rates, is available at county extension offices or online at extension.umd.edu.
The EPA has established a “pollution diet” (formerly called Total Maximum Daily Load) to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries by outlining the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that needs to be reduced to bring the Bay back to health. It is critical that everyone do their part to help Maryland meet the pollution caps.
The goal of Lawn Fertilizer Awareness Week is to educate the public about the detrimental effects of lawn fertilizer, while encouraging property owners and lawn care professionals to reduce fertilizer use and turn to organic approaches for a healthier lawn and Bay. The initiative identifies ways to incorporate lawn alternatives, such as native plants and rain gardens, as well as environmentally-friendly fertilizers. The week also focuses on the impacts of nitrogen and phosphorus—two key ingredients in fertilizer—on water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. These nutrients runoff from lawns and into waterways, contributing to harmful algae blooms that block sunlight from reaching underwater grasses, reduce dissolved oxygen levels in the water, and threaten underwater life.
With the support of Chesapeake Bay Trust, ShoreRivers is pleased to augment Lawn Fertilizer Awareness Week with a River-Friendly Yards awareness campaign, which will include a number of workshops where residents can learn about native plants, soil testing, reducing nutrient fertilizer use, and creating a yard that benefits water quality by mimicking nature. Interested residents can contact ShoreRivers to assist in hosting one of these workshops in their neighborhoods. Staff and expert partners will lead discussions among neighbors about sources of pollution in our local creeks and rivers, how lawns may be contributing to the impairment of these local waters, and what changes can be made to reduce residential stormwater runoff and the associated pollution. ShoreRivers encourages residents to adopt river-friendly practices to achieve our vision of healthy waterways across Maryland’s Eastern Shore. To host a River-Friendly Yards workshop in your neighborhood, please contact Emily Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.